Friday, March 28, 2014

Michigan State vs. Virginia Breakdown & Prediction

No. 4 Michigan State vs. No. 1 Virginia
Time: 9:57PM ET
Venue: Madison Square Garden
Records: Michigan State 28-8; Virginia 30-6
Michigan State stat leaders: Points – Garry Harris (16.9 ppg); Rebounds – Branden Dawson (8.3 rpg); Assists – Keith Appling (4.6 apg); Steals – Harris (1.9 spg).
Virginia stat leaders: Points – Malcolm Brogdon (12.6 ppg); Rebounds – Akil Mitchell (7.0 rpg); Assists – London Perrantes (3.8 apg); Steals – Brogdon (1.1 spg).
Current Streaks: Michigan State W5, Virginia W5
Point Spread: Michigan State -2
Prediction: This game should be interesting. There is no doubt it is likely to be a physical contest. Virginia brings in one of the best defenses in the country and Michigan State counters with one of the most talented offenses in the nation. On the flip side, Virginia is average on offense, and Michigan State lacks focus on defense at times. It will be important for MSU to match Virginia’s defensive intensity. The Spartans can win this game with defense. Virginia isn’t going to run wild on offense and light it up from 3-point land unless the Spartans allow them to. Strong defense can also lead to transition opportunities on offense, which will be the Spartans’ best chance to attack the Cavaliers’ defense. The refs could play a big role in this game. It is sure to be physical in the paint and MSU can’t afford to have Payne and Dawson get into foul trouble. Both have been key in the tournament run. I still feel strongly that a good offense will beat a good defense in college basketball. Obviously the offense has to shoot well, but I think MSU has such a variety of weapons that it will find the hot hand throughout the game. Virginia is going to have to have one of its best nights offensively to win this game, and I don’t see that happening. The Spartans should be mentally ready for this game and be able to win. Michigan State 70, Virginia 63

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